Cincinnati Zoo Named A Penguin Rose After Betty White’s ‘Golden Girls’ Character

Since the world lost beloved actress Betty White just shy of her 100th birthday, fans and organizations everywhere have found meaningful ways to remember her. Because of her devotion to animals, many fans are honoring White’s memory by supporting animal rescues or donating to animal causes.

A well-known zoo celebrated the animal activist’s life by naming an adorable new baby animal in her honor. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden announced on Jan. 17, which would have been White’s birthday, that it named its 1-month-old blue penguin “Rose” in honor of the actress. Rose was the name of White’s character on the classic sitcom “Golden Girls” from 1985 to 1992.

The zoo tweeted a photo of the adorable, fuzzy chick with the news of the baby’s name.

“In honor of Betty White’s birthday today, we are naming our little blue penguin chick Rose! We think Betty would approve,” Cincinnati Zoo tweeted.

“Betty White was a huge Zoo supporter and animal lover,” Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said in a statement. “I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance years ago when she attended a Cincinnati Zoo fundraiser. We introduced her to our first ambassador cheetah, Angel.”

The zoo has a history of naming its residents after celebrities and historical figures. For instance, all of the king penguins at the Cincinnati Zoo are named after famous people with the last name King: Martin Luther, Bibi, Burger, Larry, Stacey and Stephen.

This is not the first time White has inspired the naming of a zoo animal — and it’s not even the first time a penguin has been named after her! In January 2020, a penguin at Wisconsin’s Henry Vilas Zoo was born on White’s birthday, and the zoo named the penguin after the actress. This year, as the penguin turned 2 years old, the zoo posted photos of Betty-White-the-penguin and encouraged people to donate to animal shelters, nonprofits and zoos:

The Wildlife Learning Center, located outside Los Angeles, named a baby porcupine after White and asked her to choose the name for the other baby porcupine, a male. White chose the name Allen, after her late husband, Allen Ludden, and she would visit the two porcupines a few times a year.

More recently, a Texas nonprofit that was near and dear to White’s heart, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, named a baby donkey after the beloved actress. In this post on the rescue organization’s Facebook page, they explain that the donkey was born on Christmas Day, and received her name on New Year’s Eve when White died:

While the Cincinnati Zoo’s Penguin Days runs through March 11, the baby penguin is not yet part of the attraction. Cody Sowers, the head keeper of the zoo’s bird team, reports that little Rose is healthy and will soon join the existing colony of more than 30 penguins.

Visitors can see her once the warm weather returns. Who knows? Maybe she’ll have a story about St. Olaf to share.